WHO warns against treating COVID-19 like flu

FILE PHOTO: The logo of the World Health Organization (WHO) is displayed at the headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, April 15, 2020. (Photo by Martial Trezzini/Keystone via CFP)
FILE PHOTO: The logo of the World Health Organization (WHO) is displayed at the headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, April 15, 2020. (Photo by Martial Trezzini/Keystone via CFP)

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday warned against treating COVID-19 as an endemic illness-like the flu, rather than as a pandemic, saying the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant has not yet stabilized.

According to Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, it may be time to change how it tracks COVID-19’s evolution to instead use a method similar to how it follows the flu because its lethality has fallen.

That would imply treating the virus as an “endemic illness”, rather than a pandemic.

“We still have a huge amount of uncertainty and a virus that is evolving quite quickly, imposing new challenges. We are certainly not at the point where we are able to call it endemic,” WHO’s senior emergency officer for Europe, Catherine Smallwood, told a press briefing.